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Skinner, Lessard swap places in NHL trade

The Atlanta Thrashers, parent club of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, have acquired defenseman Brett Skinner from the New York Islanders, parent club of the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in exchange for right wing Junior Lessard.

Skinner has been assigned to the Wolves, while Lessard will report to the Sound Tigers.

Skinner made his National Hockey League debut in 11 outings with the Islanders this season, posting four penalty minutes. He has also skated in 24 contests for the Sound Tigers this season, notching 11 assists, 12 points and 10 penalty minutes.

The 25-year-old blueliner spent last season with the Providence Bruins (AHL), where he recorded career highs and led team defensemen with seven goals, 40 assists, 47 points and 47 penalty minutes in a career-most 68 outings en route to helping the Bruins capture the MacGregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the regular-season points champion.

Overall, he has racked up 18 goals, 90 assists, 108 points and 116 penalty minutes in 219 career AHL outings with the Sound Tigers, Bruins, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (2006-07), Portland Pirates (2006-07) and Manitoba Moose (2005-06), spanning four seasons.

Prior to going pro, the Brandon, Manitoba, native, spent three seasons with the University of Denver (WCHA), collecting 67 assists and 82 points in 122 games from 2002 to 2005, which includes helping the Pioneers capture the NCAA Championship in 2004 and 2005.

Lessard skated in all 41 of the Wolves match-ups this season, accruing six goals, 11 points and 10 penalty minutes. Last season, the 28-year-old forward appeared in a career-high 21 NHL games, recording two penalty minutes in two outings with the Dallas Stars and two points (G, A) in 19 contests with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He also registered 16 goals and 36 points in 55 AHL outings with the Norfolk Admirals and Iowa Stars.

Overall, the 2004 Hobey Baker Award winner has recorded four points (3G, A) in 27 career NHL outings with Dallas (2005 to 2008) and Tampa Bay (2007-08), and amassed 86 goals and 179 points in 298 career AHL outings with the Wolves, Houston Aeros (2004-05), Stars (2005 to 2008) and Admirals (2007-08).